Roberts v. IBM, No. 12-5169 (10th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
George Roberts said IBM fired him because of his age. He argued an instant message exchange between two of the company’s human resources managers referencing his "shelf life" played a direct role in his eventual discharge. The Tenth Circuit concluded that after its review of the evidence presented at trial, the term "shelf life" had nothing to do with Roberts’s age and everything to do with his workload. "Once its euphemisms and acronyms are translated into English, the instant message conversation unmistakably suggests that 'shelf life' was nothing worse than an inartful reference to Mr. Roberts’s queue of billable work. And that is more than enough to preclude it from amounting to direct evidence of discrimination in violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act."